17 SES 04, Paper Session
This report is partial outcome of the project. The title of the project is: Everyday life of basic schools in the normalization period as seen by teachers. Applying oral history to research in history of contemporary education.
The era of communism has basically key importance for historical experience of second half of the twentieth century for most European countries, particularly for countries of so called Eastern Bloc. The education, as many other parts of social life, undergone tough time in totalitarian regime. One of the most important periods, in terms of Czechoslovakian history after Second World War, was era of so-called normalization. Time period of rehabilitation pro-soviet totalitarian regime and close-down of all democratic endeavours from sixtieth. The era of normalization is dated back to 1969-1989.
The education in Czechoslovakia was itself hit by normalization as well. Analogically to political and social development, all reformation activities at schools were stopped and relationships with former West world (countries behind the Iron Curtain) were torn apart. On the contrary, the influence of communist party in education was stressed. Which was seen for instance in making school syllabuses more adequate to ideology of communism, in restriction of teachers´ autonomy work or in prohibition on studying abroad. School is understood as support of socialism, ranking of teachers is stricter (especially the evaluation of political loyalty of oneself to ruling party).
The main aim of this report is to present partial outcomes of research which was focused on teachers´ everyday lives at primary schools (ISED 1 and 2) in the era of normalization as it was experienced by themselves. Particularly we are interested in perception of teacher´s role in society, his possibility of professional growth and his relationships with colleges as well as with superiors. Furthermore, we are concerned about critical moments which occurred in life at school and teacher´s professional life itself. Another question is whether and how teachers faced the regime of normalization.
One of the most acknowledged views on history in present historiography is what we call History of Everyday life (Alltagsgeschichte, histoire du quotidien) which brings a lot of new interpretations of the past. From the point of methodology so-called third generation of historical school of Annales is very inspirational. Main representatives like J. Le Goff or P. Nora emphasise the freedom of human behaviour and usage of anthropological and micro historical approaches. “Anthropologically oriented historiography does not focus only on objective life context (tangible goods, family structure, work, educational institutions) but it stresses the importance of social practise as well. It aims to connect ways of perception with world of emotions and subjective feelings of people who do not act exclusively rationally” (Dülmen, 2002, s. 39). Anthropologically concerned historians try to link these two mentioned areas. Than it is possible to recognize researched topic plastically from many other points of views, which is crucial base for study of socialistic educational system.
Though, modern historiographical methods are not totally avoiding “traditional” methodological approaches, in particular Rank´s school (for instance working with printed sources of official form). It still stays the vital component of methodological tools for general studies (macro historian) like in the case of evolution and change of educational legislation in this report. Most important is the effort of linking different kinds of research methods to make recognition complex.
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